At this point, you can probably abandon any hope of seeing any major movie that was expected to hit cinemas in the next twelve months. Those that were in the middle of filming have been put on hold. Those that were already filmed and due to be released have been pushed back indefinitely. The entire entertainment industry has hit the ‘pause’ button, and it looks like it’s going to be a while before we get clearance to hit ‘play.’ Following on from the delays that have affected the new ‘Ghostbusters,’ ‘James Bond,’ and Top Gun’ movies, you can now officially add ‘The Matrix 4’ to the list.
Fans were already a little trepidatious about what the long-awaited fourth installment in the movie franchise might hold. It’s been seventeen years since the third and final part of the original trilogy, and that’s presumably as long a time in cyberspace as it is out here in the real world. If the film plans to pick up where the last movie left off, it would be relying on people re-watching the original trilogy before heading to cinemas to watch the new film. Given the fact that the appreciation index of ‘Matrix’ films decreased with each new release – leading to a number of negative reviews to the third film – they may be better off breaking with the past and telling a new story.
We don’t want to dwell on the negative, though. There’s no doubt that ‘The Matrix’ made a huge cultural impact when it was first released in 1999. It pushed sales of the Nokia phones featured in the film through the roof and made all-black clothing, long leather jackets, and the industrial-goth look cool. Even today, you’ll see the lingering influence of the trilogy online in places like online slots websites and play here. There might not have been a new movie for seventeen years, but the officially-connected ‘The Matrix’ online slots game entertains thousands of gamblers every single month. When the legacy of a film is strong enough to draw money on online slots websites over two decades after its debut, it’s still a bankable brand. Whether or not people were entertained by the most recent installment, it’s still likely that there will be queues around the block to get into screenings of this fourth film when it’s eventually released.
Initially, it was set for May 2021, but that was based on all necessary filming being completed by the middle of this summer at the latest after it began in February. Warner Bros will undoubtedly do what it can to speed up the post-production process, but there’s a limit to what can be accelerated. The complicated visual effects that go into making a ‘Matrix’ movie take time, and if they’re rushed, then the quality of the final product will be compromised. If we had to guess, we’d say it was more likely that we’ll see the new film somewhere toward the end of 2021 instead of toward the middle, but even that could slip. It isn’t hard to imagine it skipping 2021 completely and landing in 2022.
The likely prospect of a delay means that we’re going to have to wait a while longer to answer some of the questions that many fans have about the film. We have little indication thus far of what the plot might cover, but photos taken from filming in Berlin, which show Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss riding on the back of futuristic-looking motorbikes, suggest that we’re likely to see a return to the high-octane action-movie thrills of the first film. We can also now rest assured that the characters of Neo and Trinity are still alive, and still working together. They don’t, however, give any indication of whether an increasingly-popular fan theory might turn out to be true.
If you’re not a fan of finding things out through gossip and speculation, you might want to look away now, but there’s been one particular rumor circulating on the internet for a while now, and it just won’t go away. The theory suggests that contrary to everything we think we know from the films of the last, Neo is not ‘The One’ at all. Instead, ‘The One’ is Trinity, and she’s been ‘The One’ this whole time. There are some complicated reasons for believing this theory that we won’t bore you with, but suffice to say they involve a little knowledge of computer knowledge, subroutines, filming photos and retrospectively-applied interpretations of some of the past three films in the series. As people all-too-often forget when they’re watching a ‘Matrix’ film, almost everything that happens on the screen is contained within a computer simulation, no more real than the virtual reality headsets we wear for our own entertainment today. In a simulation, anything is possible, and as Trinity being ‘The One’ falls under the category of ‘anything,’ then we can’t and shouldn’t be ruling the possibility out.
Although Reeves and Moss were on set before the closure to reprise their most famous roles, so far, there have been no signs that Laurence Fishburne is around to join them as Morpheus. That’s a surprise. The character was every bit as popular as Trinity and Neo, and in more recent years has reappeared on social media sites as a meme, offering people the chance to pick between two versions of the truth. Morpheus was so popular that an old peer-to-peer file-sharing network was once named in his honor, but it seems there’s no room for him in the fourth film – unless, of course, Warner Bros have something up their sleeves.
Right now, we have plenty of questions and very few answers. We’ll get those answers one day – but sadly, we suspect that day won’t arrive until May 2021 – unless this is all just a glitch in the matrix, and the past two months are about to be re-set.